I usually use this blog to tell you about cool events happening around town, or deliver important updates about things going on in Atlanta. Today, with the T-SPLOST vote quickly approaching, I thought I'd take a minute to share a little bit about myself and my experience being a commuter in Atlanta.
For the past four years or so, I've been a daily Marta rider.
There are a few factors that make this pretty darn easy for me. Here they are:
- My office building is connected to a Marta station, so it's quite convenient.
- My employer very generously pays for either a Marta pass or a parking pass, of which I chose Marta.
There are a few factors that make this less simple for me. Again, here we go:
- I have to change trains to a specific line, which sometimes means waiting.
- I live on the Blue Line, which means there are even less trains (no short train).
- I do own a car, and it would actually be faster for me to drive (10 - 15 minutes on average).
- If I do need to drive to work for some reason (an off-site, mid-day meeting, for example), I pay out of pocket for parking, which is costly.
Still, I continue to choose to use Marta daily. When I purchased my home almost three years ago, I intentionally chose a home with easy rail access. So, what do I love about riding Marta? To me, it just feels right. I live intown for a reason - I want to feel like I'm a part of a living, breathing city. Marta does that for me. When I sit in my car on a gridlocked highway, I just feel so disconnected from the people and the community around me. On the train, I'm in it. I feel the same way when I ride my bike to the local market or restaurant.
Beyond the feeling of connectedness, I'm able to use my commute for something productive or relaxing. Sometimes I read a book. Sometimes I catch up on email. Sometimes I just play a game and listen to music. You know what? All of those beat the heck out of sitting in traffic, where you have to be alert (and usually on edge!) the entire time. A friend of mine recently began using Marta, too, and her husband commented to me that she's now much more relaxed when she gets home. She spends that time unwinding from a long day at work.
Oh, and that car I own? It has about 30,000 fewer miles on it than what's average for its age. Plus, I only buy gas about once a month.
If it's possible for you to get to work using Marta, I really encourage you to at least try it out. See if it's for you. And even if you're not (and never plan to be) a Marta rider, I hope you understand how important it is for Atlanta to continue to develop our public transportation system - even if it isn't as amazing as you'd like. It's important for those without another option. It's important for visitors, who use it to get to the airport, the convention center, and many of our major attractions. It's important to our slipping status as a business center in the Southeast. It's important as we try to counteract sprawl by encouraging intown development.
Alright, folks, I'm hopping off my soapbox. I just couldn't resist taking a moment to share my thoughts on something that's become an important part of my day-to-day life as an Atlantan.